Video: Joint Video Episode with Rollin’ With the Ball Brothers
When the series launched, I traded emails with Ball Brothers lead singer Daniel Ball about doing a joint episode where we would interview each other and introduce each other to the other’s blog/channel audiences. That worked out recently, and here is the post:
Update: After getting a question to this effect, yes, Daniel Ball did have a little mis-speak when pronouncing my name. The correct way is saying “Mount” just like in “Mount Zion.” However, when he softened it so that it sounds like “Younce,” I thought about it for a moment, and decided to take it as a compliment and not ruin the take!
Click “more” for a transcript.
Daniel Ball: Hey, I’m Daniel Ball, and this is Daniel Mount, and we’re here with Rollin’ with the Ball Brothers and SouthernGospelBlog.com. We’ve combined them both today to give both of our viewers a chance to meet the other ones. It’s something that we both feel that everybody across the way needs to be looking at, both Rollin’ with the Ball Brothers and SouthernGospelBlog.com.
Rollin’ with the Ball Brothers is all about stuff that the Ball Brothers are doing in Southern Gospel Music, and Southern GospelBlog.com covers a wide variety of topics in Southern Gospel music, and kinda lets you know what’s going on – behind the scenes stories, CD reviews, all kinds of different stuff.
So I thought maybe we would interview each other. We talked about doing this for several months now; now we finally got it all together. We’re gonna interview each other here, just a couple of things that we thought each other’s viewers might find interesting about the other.
First of other, I’m gonna start with you, Daniel, and ask: How did you get involved in Southern Gospel music? When did you first start listening to Southern Gospel music?
Daniel Mount: Well, I grew up listening to Contemporary Christian music and praise and worship only – Keith Green, John Michael Talbot, and all that – Steve Green (I still love Steve Green.) And I thought at the time that Southern Gospel music was nothing more than old men who could barely sing in tune singing around organs. I really thought that. And then I borrowed the Cathedrals CD “High and Lifted Up” from the library. And by the time the song “Death has Died” had ended, I was hooked! So that was about six or seven years ago.
Daniel Ball: We’re both huge Cathedrals fans, by the way, so that’s something else we share in common. Another thing I thought was interesting – so he started listening to Southern Gospel music, and fast forward to when you started the blog, and from the blog to where you are doing. Now he works in the industry; I didn’t mean to ruin it!
Daniel Mount: Sure, no problem. I started the blog five years ago next month, in September of 2006, intentionally to provide a positive and constructive view of the industry. There were voices out there that weren’t positive or constructive, so I thought I would come from a different tactic. And thankfully, other people since have come along with a similar perspective. Nevertheless, that was a major impetus back in September of 2006.
A couple of years ago, Crossroads, a Southern Gospel record company based just south of Asheville, North Carolina, asked me if I would do guest posting for the Talley Tree-o (Talley Trio) website during the National Quartet Convention. And I said, “Sure, why not?” So I did.
The next year they asked me if I’d do guest posting for the Talley Trio, Janet Paschal, the Crist Family, and a couple of others. I said, “Sure, why not?” So I did.
Interestingly enough, about a year later, they said they needed someone to work in their web department. So I did, and I moved across the country from Ohio to North Carolina, right about a year ago.
Daniel Ball: That’s awesome. I always find it interesting whenever people are able to find jobs in something that they’re passionate about. So anyone out there watching this that’s passionate on either side that’s passionate about the Gospel Music industry, there are more than one ways to get involved in doing what you love. If you have the desire to do that and it’s God’s will for you to do that, He’ll open the doors and move you from Indiana, right?
Daniel Mount: Ohio.
Daniel Ball: Ohio, next door – Ohio down here to North Carolina. A lot of people know that I grew up in Illinois and moved down to Chickamagua whenever we started singing in Gospel Music. Daniel, do you have any questions for me, that your readers might find interesting about the Ball Brothers, and what we’re doing in Gospel music?
Daniel Mount: Sure do! And this is something that many of my readers will already know, but there’s some who won’t. There’s many groups out there with brothers in their name, originally started by brothers. But sometimes there’s just one brother left, running the group. I’m not saying that as a criticism, by any stretch, but there are groups out there where there’s just one brother running the group. So people in Southern Gospel see a group with “brothers” in the name, and one or two of the guys standing on stage are brothers. In your case?
Daniel Ball: In our case, all four of the singers are actually brothers. There’s Andrew, my older brother, then myself, Daniel, then Stephen, then Josh. Cody, our piano player, is not a brother, but he’s a brother in the Lord, and Josh Gibson, our sound guy who drives with us, is my brother-in-law. I married Josh’s older sister, Tasha. And Cody, our piano player, dates my sister, so he may be a brother-in-law if she ever says yes to him!
So the four that sing are blood brothers, and the other two are close friends. So yeah, all four singers are brothers.
That’s actually a commonly asked question. A lot of people that follow us, even for a while, unless they see us in concert, don’t realize that we’re all blood brothers.
Daniel Mount: Another thing we share in common is that we were both raised far off of the normal Southern Gospel circuit, well north of the Ohio river. What groups did you see when you were young that got you hooked on Southern Gospel?
Daniel Ball: Sure. We initially were introduced to Gospel music through our uncle, who listened to the Cathedrals, and groups like that. So we were heard to a little bit of it. But our church wasn’t real big into it, and we didn’t have concerts in our area. But my grandma got a hold of some Gaither videos, and as young kids, we watched the videos, learned the songs off of them, and absolutely loved that.
But there was one group, and we’ve already mentioned them, that came through Illinois about once a year, about two hours away from us. That was the Cathedral Quartet. For Andrew’s thirteenth birthday – I was eleven at the time – we got to go hear the Cathedral Quartet. That was the first time we’d gotten tickets. Once we went there the first night, and saw them perform, I knew beyond anything that that’s what I wanted to do the rest of my life. I knew instantly that that’s what I wanted to do.
We watched as George Younce sang. They started off with “Wedding Music.” When he hit the low notes on “Wedding Music,” it was in February that we were there, and a Christmas production was the last big thing that had happened in the theater; every time he hit a low note, it would make the whole building rattle so much that some of the leftover snow would start falling. I think George realized that, so he was hitting some extra low notes. I really thought that maybe I would be a bass. It didn’t turn out that way, but we got to see them anyway.
Daniel Mount: What were some of the standouts that night, besides “Wedding Music”; what were the songs that got the biggest response?
Daniel Ball: Well, “Wedding Music” was great. I was expecting to see Mark Trammell there; he wasn’t there. It was when Scott Fowler had just joined the group. So I really took interest in Scott Fowler. He sang “Champion of Love that night, and a couple of other ones.
Also “Oh What a Savior” – whenever Ernie did “Oh What a Savior,” then I thought, “No, I’m not gonna be a bass; I will be a tenor!”
Also, one of the songs that they were singing there; Roger sang “I’ve Read the Back of the Book and We Win.” That was a catchy song. We got all of their cassettes at the time. They had records for just a few dollars, so we bought several of the records. We didn’t have a record player! We took ’em home, and begged Mom and Dad till they got a record player, to where we could listen to all the stuff that we got!
Daniel Mount: All right, just moving forward from there: When did you start singing together?
Daniel Ball: We started singing together as little guys growing up, when we were just two, four, six, and eight, we would just sing together in church.
Daniel Mount: Harmony?
Daniel Ball: Yeah! At the very first, it was probably two-part, but we’d get on parts. We sang parts from a very young age. No one really taught it to us. I guess we just heard it, and you kinda fall into it. As we started getting ten / eleven / twelve, it was a lot just mimicking what we heard on the CDs. So parents, that’s a great way to get your kids to start singing. Just have them mimic what they’ve heard on CDs – not any CD! – but if you have a group that has harmony or something like that, kids can pick it up. Even some of my little ones will start singing a harmony line, or whatever their voice kind of draws to. They’ll learn it that way. So that’s how we learned it, just by listening to it, and then we’d sing it back. Not a lot of formal training – just get together and sing.
Daniel Mount: All right. Skipping forward a couple of years, the first time that most of my longer-time readers would have come across you would be when you opened for Signature Sound in ’04, ’05, somewhere right around in there.
Daniel Ball: ’06. Summer of 2006.
Daniel Mount: How did that come about?
Daniel Ball: We were just starting off full-time. Really, the only thing we’d done was decide that we were going to go full-time. Once we did that, we put up a website, and got in contact to open for Ernie Haase & Signature Sound – to potentially open for ’em, and go and play basketball with ’em. So we opened for ’em at one concert, and then a few months later we played basketball with ’em. Ernie, at that point, said, “I’m getting ready to go on this summer tour” – that was in ’06 – “Would you guys be interested in doing some regional dates, in Illinois” – where we were from, “in Indiana, and in Ohio”? That was the first weekend.
Really, all that was guaranteed was just the first weekend. So we did the first week. We helped him set up his lights, video screen, helped him do some of the video stuff. After the first weekend, it went so well – we all got along really well – he said, “Hey, I want you to come on this whole tour.” But there was no way – we were driving a suburban, pulling along a little U-Haul trailer. So he said, “There’s no way you can do that. We’re gonna redo our bus to put more bunks in there, and jump on the bus, and go with us.” And so we canceled our one date that we had on the calendar, cleared our summer, and went around with Ernie and Signature Sound. It was a blast; it was a lot of fun.
Daniel Mount: And you also performed on a live video which came out right about that time.
Daniel Ball: Yeah. At the end of the summer, we did the Get Away Jordan DVD. We went out, and we sang an acapella song on there. And, of course, the Gaither Vocal Band was there, and Signature Sound. It was awesome! The video didn’t end up getting released until 2007, but we recorded it in, I think, August of 2006.
Daniel Mount: You sang “I Sing the Mighty Power of God,” which you heard from Greater Vision.
Daniel Ball: We heard Greater Vision sing that, and the Lesters. We took a fusion of their two arrangements. That was just one of the standbys that we’d always sung in church growing up. You always have to have an acapella song that, at the drop of a hat, you could sing in many different situations. For a while there, we always started off our concerts by singing “I Sing the Mighty Power of God.” We’d sung it for so many years that that’s what we were most comfortable with, even more so than tracks.
Daniel Mount: And, of course, I believe that that’s the first song Greater Vision ever sang together.
Daniel Ball: Really?
Daniel Mount: I believe they were driving to a conference – Chris Allman, Gerald Wolfe, Mark Trammell in a car – and decided they needed something to sing by the end of the trip, so they worked that up in the car. That’s what I’ve heard.
Daniel Ball: Wow!
Daniel Mount: I understand they got the arrangement from the Couriers; have you heard the original Couriers arrangement?
Daniel Ball: I had not; I wasn’t even really familiar with the Couriers until we started singing, and folks started coming up to us and saying, “I heard a similarity between you and the Couriers” – them and the Goss Brothers. We kept on hearing that. I was familiar with who Lari was, but not necessarily with the work of the Goss Brothers.
Daniel Mount: That pretty much brings us to the present day. Any other questions on your end?
Daniel Ball: Yeah! I want to know: What is on the future for SouthernGospelBlog? Is there anything on the horizon? I don’t want to spoil it, but if you’ve got anything that’s up and coming, how will the blog change over the years, with incorporating more stuff? I mean, this is a little bit different for you, the video-type thing. Can we expect to see more video?
Daniel Mount: That’s certainly a possibility. One thing I just launched this year: Other genres have some place – some magazine, something – has every month, first of the month (or whenever the magazine comes out), see what CDs are coming out that month and the next month. And that’s a really good thing. And it was just bugging me for years that nobody in Southern Gospel was doing it.
Daniel Ball: Right, right.
Daniel Mount: So it just bugged me all this time. I decided back about March, “Well, why should I complain? This is something I can do!” So I have started posting each month, a list of the CDs that are coming out that month. You know, it’s a really simple, little thing, but it helps.
Daniel Ball: Very useful. You’re constantly going through everyone’s email newsletter, trying to think, “When is this gonna come out, when is that gonna come out?”
Daniel Mount: Yeah. That’s something that I started this year. That’s probably the most different thing I’ve done this year. I’m still keeping up with the concert reviews, CD reviews, news stories, commentary. That’s what I usually do.
You know, sixty-plus years back, Southern Gospel was a genre run by songbook publishers. They sent out quartets on the road; it didn’t matter who the quartet was. All that mattered was that they sang the songs. Then the Blackwood Brothers and the Statesmen came along and changed the industry into a group-oriented industry. Groups, and over time, record companies, radio stations.
The internet is changing so many things. We don’t know how everything’s gonna pan out, but I’m just keeping an eye out for the way things will change. It could be a change as significant as the change the Blackwood Brothers and Statesmen brought in, the way the Internet connecting with different people can do.
This is why I was so intrigued by Rollin’ with the Ball Brothers series, because that’s just something different, unique.
The Internet has made it possible for fans to connect a lot more directly with the artists, rather than being somebody they see come through once a year.
Daniel Ball: Yeah. A lot of the times, at the product table, what we’d see was there was a wall built up there. I understand that from both angles, ’cause I’ve been on the side of a fan and as a singer. You’ve got to keep some walls up to protect your family, and different things like that. But we’re trying to take down as much of that wall as we can and let people see through to the other side of the table, and see exactly what we’re doing with Rollin’ with the Ball Brothers.
So check out Rollin’ with the Ball Brothers, check out SouthernGospelBlog.com.
Josh just came on and ruined the video at the end, so that’s it. We’ll see you later. Thank you all so much!